At What Age is Orthodontic Care Appropriate?

By Alan D. Shoopak, D.M.D.


Many parents ask me when they should bring their son or daughter in for their first orthodontic evaluation. But it’s not just concerned parents—dentists and dental professionals are reaching out to our statewide group, requesting guidance and shareable information for their patients before referring them to orthodontic specialists.

Although most people equate braces with teenagers, for the 30-plus years I’ve been in practice, the American Association of Orthodontists guidelines have recommended an orthodontic checkup no later than age 7. At this early stage, orthodontic specialists can screen patients for several treatable issues.

An orthodontic screening can check for proper “bite,” and determine if there is misalignment in the jaw or emerging teeth that requires treatment. If an issue with misaligned teeth or jawbones is discovered, orthodontic specialists can immediately treat and guide them into a more ideal position.

While improving appearance always seems to rank at the top of the list of reasons to seek orthodontic care, correcting any teeth or jaw issues early on could save patients unnecessary visits to the orthodontist, as well as a lot of time, pain and money. Remember: Orthodontic health is a quality-of-life concern, not just a cosmetic one.

About Alan D. Shoopak, D.M.D.

Dr. Shoopak is the founder of Orthodontic Specialists of Florida and Dental Specialists of Florida, a statewide group of total specialty smile care centers treating children, adults and seniors. He attended the University of Tampa, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree. He graduated from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in Boston in 1982, and earned his Orthodontic Certificate in 1984. Dr. Shoopak is a member of the American Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontists, the Southern Association of Orthodontists and the Florida Association of Orthodontists, as well as other local, regional and national dental associations.